With the invasion of the midsize SUV as the new kid on the block a few years back, Explorers have become a welcome addition to the custom truck market.
These SUVs have separated themselves from the family minivan market. Finding its own niche, these SUVs grasp people with a more active outdoor lifestyle, who wish to explore their recreational horizons. Besides SUVs as a means of transportation, they also deliver extreme styling, agility, and multiple functions.
Since the introduction of these midsize SUVs, we have seen CTE (Custom Truck Enthusiasts) adopt these vehicles, bridging the gap between custom trucks and SUVs. These vulnerable SUVs have become prey for the serious custom SUV enthusiasts with a desire to create some outrageous rides.
When serious skiers and snowboarders attack the snowy slopes of a mountain's treacherous terrain, the most challenging runs are designated for them with an international symbol Black Diamond logo. One such X-treme, daring individual willing to push the envelope of custom truck design is Terry DeLong from Kendallville, Indiana. He and the crew at Pro-Finish/Pro-Glass have been creating award-winning custom trucks for some time. Again, DeLong and crew transformed this '01 Ford Explorer into a stand-alone custom SUV. Check out the features of DeLong's mild custom Black Diamond masterpiece.
To achieve an altered stance, an Air Ride Technologies airbag system was installed. Joe Mattes from La Otto, Indiana, designed and fabricated airbag mounts to be fitted to the framerails. Mattes is also responsible for the plumbing the air lines and the electrical switch panel. A set of Weld Racing VR Type 146 18x8 billet aluminum wheels is wrapped by Toyo 255/55R-18 Proxes ST rubber on all four corners.
Under the hood, we discover a 4.0L V-6 with a K&N Gen II FIPK air cleaner. Pro-Finish/Pro-Glass are responsible for the functional hood air-ducting system to force-feed the mighty six-holer. To improve the exhaust flow, an MBRP muffler was installed inline with the stock exhaust system.
The body has also had some Pro-Finish personal touches such as a fiberglass hood and a roll pan. The rear wiper, squirter, and badges were tossed, then shaved. To acquire that clean look, the body cladding was smoothed, then the body was prepped and rolled into the spray booth were Bob Rittermeyer applied PPG Cherry Black and House of Kolor pigment. The interior was left stock with tan leather seats and a factory audio system.
Midsize SUVs are becoming more popular as additional ammo for the custom truck enthusiast's arsenal. As you can see, it doesn't take much to transform one of these extreme-lifestyle haulers into a true custom ride.